Rajat Gupta has got to be one of the busiest men in the world. After a long stint as the head of McKinsey and Company from 1994 to 2003, he continues to serve as at the consulting firm's senior partner. That's impressive enough, but it's his outside activities that are really amazing. Here are just the chairman titles he has (he on at least another dozen boards and councils as a mere member):
- Co-Chair - and co-founder - of the American India Foundation (with Victor Menezes, former vice chairman of Citibank)
- Chairman of the Board of the Indian School of Business
- Chairman of the Board of Associates of the Harvard Business School
- Chair of Pan IIT Alumni Association
- Chairman of the Public Health Foundation of India
- Chairman of the India AIDS Initiative of The Gates Foundation
(see an official bio)
Now comes news that he has become board chair of a major health organization. From the press release:
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today elected Rajat Gupta, former managing director of McKinsey & Company, as its new Chair. Elizabeth Mataka, who heads a Zambian AIDS organization, was elected as Vice-Chair.
“The Global Fund was created as a public/private partnership, and today we have taken that a significant step further,” said Dr Carol Jacobs, the outgoing Chair of the Global Fund Board. “By choosing representatives from the private sector and civil society to lead a multi-billion dollar international financial institution, the Board shows the high level of trust and collaboration that has been developed during the five-year life of the Global Fund.”
Mr Rajat Gupta is a senior partner and former managing director of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, where he has been serving since 1973. Mr. Gupta is also the Chair of the Board of the Indian School of Business and Chair of the Public Health Foundation of India, a public/private partnership to establish seven schools of excellence in public health to train over 10,000 professionals each year.
Born in India, he is an American citizen, and is the second American to chair the Global Fund. Tommy Thompson did so while serving as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Gupta takes over the role of Chair from Dr Carol Jacobs, Chairwoman of the National Commission for HIV/AIDS of Barbados. Mataka succeeds Dr Lieve Fransen, Head of Human and Social Development for the European Commission’s Directorate General of Development. The elections were held at the Fifteenth Board Meeting in Geneva, which takes place from 25 to 27 April. The new Chair and Vice-Chair will take up their positions at the end of the current meeting and will chair their first Board meeting in November this year.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has a unique board structure as donor and recipient countries, non-governmental organizations, the private sector (including businesses and foundations) and affected communities all share governance responsibilities. Both donors and recipients each hold ten voting seats on the Board, while the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNAIDS, and the Swiss government hold non-voting seats. The Global Fund Board elects a Chair and a Vice-Chair for a two-year term. The Chair and Vice-Chair positions alternate between representatives of the donor voting group and the recipient voting group.
Read more about the organization at TheGlobalFund.org.
I first met Gupta almost 13 years ago exactly, doing an April 1994 cover story for India's Business Today magazine (that 10-page piece is here). He had just become the head of the world's most famous management consulting firm and his success caught the imagination of the Indian corporate world. He was just 45 years old. I spent the better part of a day following him around his Chicago office and talking to him about his career and plans for McKinsey. I also talked to more than a dozen current and former McKinsey employees and clients to get a handle on him. He was - and is - soft-spoken, but knew how to communicate a clear vision about the corporate world and the world around him. Having watched his career over these last 13 years, I have been most struck by his involvement with non-business pursuits, especially his championing of the American India Foundation, the largest South Asian philanthropy in the U.S. It's rare to see such dedication to nonprofit work among business folks.
Here are the last two answers to questions from a sidebar in that cover story in 1994:
Is there still life outside the Firm?
Of course there is, in many different dimensions. Even though I work about 12 hours a day, I make it a point not to work weekends, unless I'm travelling. I've been involved with the Harvard Business School Club and the advisory board of Northwestern University's Kellogg Business School. I have also been involved with Bala Balachandran at Kellogg in helping him think through Indian projects. Beyond that, I have four daughters and they can keep you pretty busy.
Since you are only 45, you could serve five three-year terms until you retire at 60 as McKinsey's CEO. Is that how you see it?
This is a very intense job. Like everything else we do here, it ought to be a rotating position. I don't know precisely, but somewhere between five and 10 years is more than enough.
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